Another week and unfortunately another stick is pulled from Saab's wobbling Jenga stack. Last week we reported Swedish debt collectors were requested to step in to investigate Saab bank accounts to try to retrieve funds to pay outstanding supplier's bills and employee wages. Saab's auto unions have now said that if the funds cannot be produced, the unions could ask a court to put Saab into bankruptcy in as little a two weeks.
It's a sad time for Saab lovers around the world, but Saab is sinking down so deep now that it is going to be very difficult for the company to climb out and return as a competitive automotive brand. And it's not entirely Saab's fault. A number of companies have previously promised to invest into Saab only to pull out before the deal was made. This hasn't helped with production at Saab's Trollhattan facilities, with operations still on hiatus.
Saab was aiming to pay wages today, but said on Tuesday that payments may be put on hold again if investment commitments were not made in time. If delays do occur, two of Saab's largest auto unions may begin filing to a local court asking to put Saab into bankruptcy to ensure state coverage of the wages.
Before the filing starts, the auto unions will ensure all employees back the process and will ask Saab for the wages. If the wages are not paid within seven days, the unions could take the issue to the local court to ask to put the company into bankruptcy. Veli-Pekka Saikkala, head of salary negotiations at IF Metall's headquarters in Stockholm, recently told Automotive News,
"We must start the process, as there's no alternative to our moving to protect our members' wages. Later, if we don't see a solution, we'll likely be forced to act."
Saab production has been stopped since early June. The company says it is trying to raise more funds, and hopes to get production back under way in a few weeks' time. What do you think? Will Saab regain control or is this just another futile promise?